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Where I'm From
David E. Poston


After George Ella Lyon and with thanks to Sherman Alexie for the opening line

I am from fried bologna with four little cuts so it will lie flat in the pan
I am from sandspurs in my bare feet
I am from Louisville, Kentucky, where my father carried me
†††††††††† on his shoulders
†††††††††† to a rowboat in the flood
I am from Apex, North Carolina, where Mr. Pearson caught me
†††††††††† and my cousins throwing dirt clods at each other
†††††††††† all over his just-planted cornfield
††††††††††††††††††††† and I was the only one who didnít run away
I am from Pendleton, North Carolina, where I chopped cotton and peanuts
††††††††††† in the summer on Mr. Joe Horneís farm
††††††††††† and squirmed in his wife Annís
††††††††††† Sunday School class each Sunday
I am from Moore County, North Carolina, where Billy Dunlap and I raced
††††††††††† down the fire road side by side and jumped over a black snake
††††††††††† in unison without missing a stride
††††††††††† where we dammed up the creek to make a swimming hole
††††††††††† where they couldnít find us one night when the church service
††††††††††††††††††††††† started because we were walking among the tombstones
††††††††††††††††††††††† talking with our heads bowed like two little old men
I am from vinyl records & eight-tracks & cassettes & AM/FM radio & CDs
††††††††††††††††††††††† & mp3 & I-tunes & Pandora, and Iíve listened to
††††††††††††††††††††††† ďMy GenerationĒ on each one
I am from Momma pinching me in church to shush me
††††††††††††††††††††††† and my sisters tattling on me and
††††††††††††††††††††††† sharing a room with my little brother
††††††††††††††††††††††† who is now a big-time corporate ex-eck-you-tive and
††††††††††††††††††††††† I cherish any time I get to spend with him
I am from Baptists donít dance, but we can still tap our feet

From Beautiful TruthóA Gathering of Voices from Charlotte, NC
(Charlotte Center for Literary Arts, Inc., 2019).
Used here with permission.

David E. Poston lives with his wife in Gastonia, North Carolina, where they are active volunteers in their church and community. Author of three poetry collections,† most recently Slow of Study, David is also a frequent book reviewer for Pedestal Magazine and is a co-editor of Kakalak. Learn more about him at

Post New Comment:
Stephen Anderson:
A poem of the little yet important formative things that can shape us in our journey through life. A poem well done, David.
Posted 05/26/2021 10:16 AM
Richard Greene:
A seriously good poem.
Posted 05/25/2021 10:53 PM
I love every line of this poetic memoir.
Posted 05/25/2021 07:39 AM
Such wonderful visuals - great poem!
Posted 05/25/2021 01:53 AM
Lori Levy:
Great poem. Love all the details.
Posted 05/24/2021 08:41 PM
I'm reliving my childhood. Thanks. Bobby
Posted 05/24/2021 04:50 PM
Yep. The slits in the 'baloney' and 'throwing dirt clods'. I, like you, know all about that. And I bet you know what a 'stob' is! Love this poem, David!!!
Posted 05/24/2021 03:46 PM
Great last line.
Posted 05/24/2021 11:46 AM
Larry Schug:
A top five YDP poem! Truly, "Where I'm From" warrants many readings.
Posted 05/24/2021 07:35 AM
You had me at the "four little cuts so it will lie flat in the pan" (mom would let it curl slightly so she could crack an egg in it) and we called sandspurs goat heads in eastern Colorado. Thanks for this peek into where you're "from."
Posted 05/24/2021 06:52 AM

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